|E100-23: Joshua 1: Joshua Succeeds Moses - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
This chapter focuses on Joshua taking over from Moses, now that (at the end of Deuteronomy) Moses is dead and gone (though no one except God) saw him die. In the reading we learn a lot about how the Bible views leadership, and it does not easily fit with any of our modern, well-worn patterns. Thank God! We also (not coincidentally) learn about cooperation among God's people.
Keywords: Joshua; Bible; biblical studies
|Exodus 32: Who dunnit? - Tim Bulkeley|
Until Jeremy of Free Old Testament audio mentioned it the other day in his Exodus 32 - Who Brought the People out of Egypt? I had never really noticed how this text, the "Golden Calf" episode, offers three different answers to the question: Who brought Israel out of Egypt! When there are "rough edges" like this in a text it is a critic's job, any sort of critic worth their salt, to pick at them and hope to see more of how or why the text is constructed...
Keywords: exodus; narrative; biblical studies
|Babbling about Babel: Gen 11:1-9: Part 1 - Tim Bulkeley|
Stephen suggested I do a 'cast about the Babel story, so here it is :) a first 'cast about Babel. In this one I'll begin with points of view and language. Since this will have to be a series we'll follow up from there later! For more about "point of view" and "frames" you could see my Introduction to Narrative and Narrative Poetics which is not as technical as it may sound!
Keywords: genesis; narrative; biblical studies
|E100-30: Ruth 1:1 - 4:22: At last a nice story! - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
Well, Judges was thoroughly censored for E100, as it is for most church use, the bits we got were the rare good bits, cf. my Twisted tales: or should the book of Judges be censored? (which got me into trouble with a fundamentalist who could not be bothered to actually listen to what I was saying before condemning me to hell - so it may be worth listening to ;) Ruth is about âredemptionâ, the need for husband for Ruth and so a baby to continue the âhouse of Elimelekâ and to provide for the tw...
Keywords: ruth; reading; narrative; biblical
|E100-32: 1 Samuel 8:1 - 10:27: Plus ça change ;( - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
This is the story in which we hear the interface between Judges, "Everyone did as they saw fit, for there was no king in Israel", and the story of the Hebrew kingdoms. In these few chapters there is loads of good stuff to notice (for a start try): Humour in the Bible: Part 1: Introducing Saul Humour in the Bible: Part 2: Still Introducing Saul Direct speech in biblical narratives But this time I'll restrain myself, and just mention one or two neat narrative details...
Keywords: 1 Samuel; Narrative; biblical narrative
|E100-19: Exodus 12: A great festival, but a huge theological problem - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
I'm torn two ways on how to respond to this reading: * on one side, a great opportunity to explain Passover, the great festival that celebrates God as liberator, saviour and enimy of powerful oppressors * on the other, when I read (the Bible or the Newsâ¦) I tend to sympathise with those who suffer, and while in earlier chapters that's the Israelites, here I feel the pain of bereaved Egyptian parents â how can the God who we have discovered so far in Genesis commit such a barbarous act? There...
Keywords: exodus; narrative; biblical studies; passover
|Babel 2: Gen 11 a straight up and down story - Tim Bulkeley|
This podcast takes a second look at Babel, with a focus on the structure of the story, and its themes. It includes "homework" for which you should ideally have a photocopy of Genesis 11:1-9 (preferably in a fairly literal translation like NRSV, RSV, TNIV, NIV, ESVâ¦) and some coloured markers or crayons.
Keywords: gemesis; structure; bible; biblical studies
|Jonah 1:3-5 : Whatâs Jonah doing?! - Tim Bulkeley|
The puzzle of Jonah's actions, and other strange goings-on don't stop in Jonah 1:3, but deepen (pun intended) as we begin to read on ;) we meet the ship that had plans of its own and hear echoes of Santa Claus in the telling of Jonah's story ;)
Keywords: jonah; narrative; biblical studies; bible
|Jonah 1:2: three little words - Tim Bulkeley|
Continuing the series on Jonah, we rush ahead into the second verse of the book, only to spot yet again possibly more than one meaning. Jonahâs task however is clear. By the way I am sorry about the long delays recently, I hope to post more regularly again, but not till after enjoying a two week holiday - starting on Sunday.
Keywords: jonah; narrative; biblical studies; bible
|Isaiah 40 in Babylon - Tim Bulkeley|
It is certainly one of my favourite Bible passages, indeed it is many people's favourite Bible chapter. Isaiah 40 is just full of superb phrases and pictures. Whenever it was composed, this chapter really comes to life and sparkles when it is heard as the Judean exiles in Babylon heard, it just before Cyrus the Persian king captured the city. For a better idea of the background watch the Video "Babylon as background to hearing Isaiah 40" (4MB).
Keywords: history; isaiah; bible; biblical studies
|E100 Week 9: Psalms and Proverbs - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
This week's 5 is a somewhat artificial collection, putting together two different things. Yet both Psalms and Proverbs work differently from the narrative/history and prophecy that comprise the bulk of the Old Testament, and both are used a lot by Christians along with Genesis and Isaiah (while most of the Old Testament lies unread the Two-Thirds Bible). In this podcast we'll look at how different genres (see the posts here, especially: Genre matters: 1- Why genre matters) work...
Keywords: psalms; proverbs; bible; biblical study
|E100-36: 2 Samuel 11:1 - 12:25: David and Bathsheba? - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
These two chapters mark the turning point in David's story. They offer vital clues also to how we "read" biblical narratives. * Nathan's story within a story provides hints, abouit the nature of narrative meaning * David's strange behaviour during his child's illness and on his death provides both a clue to an interpretative rule, and some good practice :)
Keywords: 2 Samuel; Narrative; biblical narrative; Bathsheba; David
|E100-16: Exodus 1-2: Naming names - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
In reading (by which I mean understanding, making sense of) these chapters weâll find that noticing unusual details, things that stick out, can be a real clue to what is important. Naming, and not naming, are really significant here, not least that God is not named â oh, Godâs talked about, but âGodâ is a title or description not a name, this âGodâ will get a name in the next chapterâ¦ Here, too, well find that hearing echoes of other parts of Scripture can be strong clues to meaning...
Keywords: exodus; narrative; biblical studies; theology; God
|Chance or Providence? - Tim Bulkeley|
Often in biblical narrative things "just seem to happen", rather like they do in our lives ;) But are such "happenings" chance or divine providence at work? We'll try to decide, using Gen 37:12ff. (read with Gen 39) and Ruth 2 as examples.
Keywords: Gapping; Genesis; Narrative; Ruth; biblical studies
|E100-31: 1 Samuel 1:1 - 3:21: On not missing the voice in the darkness - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
Three great chapters, full of well crafted narrative, with a stirring song thrown in! There is too much detail to notice in the way these stories are told, you'll have to watch for the fun yourselves. In this 'cast I'll focus more on the song, and not so much on its detail as overall how it works. (For more background on this see my Why Read the Bible? Dreams and visions which is part of a longer series of reflections on Lost Treasures of the Bible: reading "from another place": reading for a ch...
Keywords: 1 Samuel; Narrative; biblical narrative; Samuel; Hannah
|E100-34: 1 Samuel 23:7 - 24:22: Two noble opponents - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
Just when you begin to wonder if any Bible story is really suitable for simple Sunday School reading, and have begun to suspect that the Bible has no message but: Humans are broken and need mending, humnans are sinful and therefore they keep spoiling God's lovely world and hurting each other. Along comes a story to remind us of another truth... Just as the story of Ruth followed the grime of Judges, so now in 1 Samuel 24 we get a story, set amid the war and political jostling of the beginnings o...
Keywords: 1 Samuel; Narrative; biblical narrative; Saul; David
|E100-46: Isaiah 51:1 - 53:12: Reading prophets for pleasure and profit - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
I have not focused these 5 Minutes on how Is 53 speaks so clearly about Jesus, it is the Old Testament passage that is most clearly, directly and simply fulfilled in Christ. But that status should not make it paradigmatic for undedrstanding how Jesus fulfills Scripture. For more on that (and there is nothing on that in this podcast :( see What DOES "fulfil" mean? And other podcasts on this topic here...
Keywords: history; prophet; prophecy; bible; biblical studies
|E100-48: Daniel 6:1 - 6:28: Introducing Daniel - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
In this 5 minute recording I try to introduce Daniel, a book that has been placed among the prophets in Christian Bibles (following the tradition of the old Greek translation) but is not a "prophet" in the Hebrew Bible. The book contains two sorts of material, stories about Daniel, like this one "Daniel in the Lions' Den", and records of Daniel's visions, which seem to speak in a half hidden coded language...
Keywords: Daniel; Bible; biblical study; apocalypitc; lions
|E100-43: Psalm 103:1 - 103:22: God is faithful and loving - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
There are some technical details to explain: what a "hymn" is (not a long old-fashioned worship song), what it means to "bless God" and the meaning of hesed. But mainly this podcast aims to encourage you to hear the celebration of the creator God who is gracious, even to those who do not deserve it, merciful and above all faithful. It's a beautiful psalm, that expresses how God is not "a god" clearly and sharply, and it just begs us to join in blessing Yahweh!
Keywords: psalms; psalm 103; bible; biblical study
|E100-42: Psalm 51:1 - 51:19: Have mercy on me - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
The biblical text tells us how to read this psalm. Whether or not we agree with those who see the words âbuild the walls of Jerusalemâ at the end as a reference to the need to (re)build after the destruction of 586, and so (perhaps along with other reasons) see the psalm as actually written later, we are told to read the psalm against the story of David's sin and Nathan's visit NB: the headings like are often printed as if they had less authority than the big bold headings Bible publishers ad...
Keywords: psalms; psalm 51; david; bible; biblical study
|E100-33: 1 Samuel 16:1 - 18:16: Slain in the Spirit - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
Yes, like some of the Bible writers, I just can't resist a pun, especially if it really does help carry the message :) And in this case I think it does, more specifically after we have noticed quickly some of the good stuff in the famous David and Goliath story of David and Goliath. For this podcast, perhaps as homework, you might want to play with a computer Bible... and you might also want to return to the comments, and discuss the vexed question of the nature of blasphemy against the Holy Spi...
Keywords: 1 Samuel; Narrative; biblical narrative; Matthew; pun
|E100 week 4: Exodus 1-18: Freed from other masters - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
In this podcast, before looking at the passages selected for week 4, Iâll do a quick overview of what I think we should have noticed from Genesis (a sort of 30 second recap of weeks 1-3 ;) Then Iâll try to set the scene for week 4, which covers the story of the Exodus. Phrasing it that way though is perhaps not the best summary of Exodus 1-18. After listening to my podcast maybe you can suggest a better one?
Keywords: exodus; narrative; biblical studies; theology; slavery
|Text, canon, and the woman caught in adultery - Tim Bulkeley|
The pericope in John 7:53-8:11 is a fascinating test case in the interaction of text criticism and canon. Both the history of canon, and textual criticism seem dull and unexciting. Yet here they combine into a detective story or a theological conundrum that contributes to making the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy conflict with most Christian preachers' practice! In this post I won't address the detective story...
Keywords: Canon; John; Textual criticism; biblical studies
|E100-37: 1 Kings 2:1 - 3:28: The great and wise king Solomon - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
In just two chapters we get some of the most beautiful and inspiring, and some of the grubbiest and most bloodthirsty stories in the Bible. It is no wonder that telling the stories of David (with Saul and Solomon and perhaps the rest) as a serial, like a soap opera has the audience panting for more :) In this podcast I'll again point to clues to how we can, and (often of more use) how we should NOT "read" Bible stories...
Keywords: 1 Kings; Solomon; biblical; narrative; bible study
|E100-25: Joshua 5:13 - 6:27: The Fall of Jericho - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
A great Sunday School story again raises the issue of divinely ordered brutal killing, which will need a small series of 5 Minute Bible 'casts outside this E100 series, which I am committed to doing... The story is also in several ways full of creative tensions, that raise it beyond a nice tale for kiddies into a thoroughly thought provoking story for adults, with some profound and striking theological points to make...
Keywords: Joshua; Bible; biblical studies; jericho; amosd
|E100-38: 1 Kings 8:1 - 9:9: Solomon and the temple - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
Solomon's prayer understands that Yahweh is a different God, the gods (like Ba'al and his crowd) lived in the sky â and lanced thunderbolts down on people they disliked - heaven/sky was like the earth only bigger and better. When Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev said "Gagarin flew into space, but didn't see any God there". Solomon's prayer sees the stupidity of Krushchev - how could the creator of universes be see from a measly 302Kms from earth? But...
Keywords: 1 Kings; Solomon; biblical; narrative; bible study
|The Perspicuity of Scripture (i) - Tim Bulkeley|
My tradition (the Baptist part of the Nonconformist or radical Reformation) has stressed the idea that Scripture is perspicuous, that the Bible is easy to understand, and that anyone can understand it â or at least grasp its essentials â without special training or equipment. Yet there are for sure some difficult passages. There are also passages that seem to flat out contradict other parts of the Bible...
Keywords: (ana)Baptist reading; Jesus; Reading; bible; interpretation; biblical studies
|E100-18: Exodus 6-11: The big fight - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
What else could we call it? God vs. Pharaoh, it's a foregone conclusion â exceptâ¦
Keywords: exodus; narrative; biblical studies; theology; God; Yahweh; name of God
|Complaint Psalms: Part Two - Tim Bulkeley|
This second look at the complaint psalms continues to focus on Psalm 22. Part three will return to Jeremiah.
Keywords: Arguing with God; Complaint; Psalms; lament; biblical studies
|E100-39: 1 Kings 16:29 - 19:18: The big fight at Mt Carmel - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
Since this is a gripping, but well-known, story what I'll try to do in this podcast is show you how a bit of context (see here for more on context and understanding the Bible). I'll also tell you God's two nicknames, in some religious traditions knowing all a god's names is really important, in Hinduism the god Vishnu has 1,000 names, in Islam there is a tradition that God has 99 names. Yahweh the God the Bible talks about has kicknames as well as formal names! A couple of photos to illustrate t...
Keywords: 1 Kings; elijah; mt carmel; biblical; narrative; bible study
|E100-40: 2 Kings 25:1 - 25:30: The holy city falls - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
Today's is a grim reading. But such brutality was not unusual in the Ancient Near East. The Assyrians, for example, when they captured the Judean city of Lachish after a siege in 701BC impaled the surviving leaders outside the city, and left a mass grave of 1,500 people (mainly women and children). Despite what one might even see as gentle treatment of the city by the Babylonians in 586, the fall of Jesusalem marked Hebrew thought deeply because it was God's city, their last toehold of political...
Keywords: 2 Kings; Jerusalem; biblical; narrative; bible study; exile
|E100-17: Exodus 3-4: Getting the holy between your toes! - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
What matters, what really matters, is getting the holy between our toes. In this reading we discover Moses getting on first name terms wiuth God, and what (perhaps) God's name means. This is "holy ground" even compared to most other parts of the Bible, so take your shoes off, and listen. No, God's name yhwh does not just mean the 'One who is' and it for sure does not mean "Don't ask, because I won't tell you!" but to find out what more I think it means listen in ;)
Keywords: exodus; narrative; biblical studies; theology; God; Yahweh; name of God
|An Introduction to Gapping - Tim Bulkeley|
Gapping, where hearers have to "fill in" information that is missing in the text, is a really significant part of biblical story-telling. So, I'll need to introduce the idea to next year's Biblical Narrative class. Normally we "gap" unconsciously, and not just when reading narratives as I hope I'll show you in this podcast. We'll also begin to think about what makes gapping more - or less - legitimate...
Keywords: 2 corinthians; gapping; narrative; interpretation; bible; biblical studies
|Complaint Psalms: Part One - Tim Bulkeley|
This post starts to talk about Psalm 22, mentioning Job 10 on the way, we will examine these passages as a way into understanding "complaint psalms". Complaints are the commonest type of psalm in the book of psalms. You might like to listen to my earlier post "Arguing with God: Jer 12:1-4" first, it sets the scene for this one, and should probably have been called "Complaint psalms: Part One"! I hope the next post - in a few days - will follow up looking some more at Psalm 22.
Keywords: Arguing with God; Complaint; Job; Psalms; lament; biblical studies
|E100-20: Exodus 13-14: Crossing the Reed Sea - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
In this podcast we'll notice just how firmly this passage tells us that the miracle at the Reed Sea* was indeed entirely a miracle. We'll notice how good source critics were/are at spotting small discrepancies in texts, but also how little the composers of the Bible seemed to care about detail, concerned with things that matter (relationships, especially and particularly our relationship with God) rather than "facts" which are merely of secondary importance...
Keywords: exodus; narrative; biblical studies; red sea; reed sea
|E100-41: Psalm 23:1 - 23:6: A psalm of the life of faith - Dr Tim Bulkeley|
Perhaps the best known and popular psalm among both Jews and Christiansbut not easy to categorise, except that it expresses trust in God. The imagery makes even better sense when some geography and culture is understood: sheep follow shepherds, they are not left on the hills and then driven green pastures, means land where there is some green vegetation, not just rocks and dust wadis: steep sided gorges, semi-desert little vegetation, quick run off from hills = flash floods For more on this see...
Keywords: psalms; psalm 23; 23rd psalm; lord is my shepherd; shepherd psalm; bible; biblical study